Whether your holidays are low-key or filled to the brim with activities, enjoying a favorite spot or special event is one sure way to savor the season. From cutting your own Christmas tree to ice skating under the stars, Missouri offers a multitude of ways to create memorable holiday traditions.
Trees to Trim
Climb aboard a wagon pulled by a pair of Belgian horses for a trip through the Christmas tree fields at Meier Horseshoe Pines Tree Farm near Jackson. After you select a white pine, Scotch pine, Norway spruce or cedar, a field worker will cut your tree and prepare it for the trip home. The tree field is open the Friday after Thanksgiving and on Saturdays and Sundays until Christmas. The farm also offers fresh wreaths and garlands and a Christmas shop.
At Starr Pines Christmas Tree Farm near Boonville, take a hay ride through the tree-filled fields to select your own Scotch pine or fir. Saws are provided to cut your own tree, which is wrapped so you can easily transport it. You can also select a pre-cut tree. While you're there, enjoy hot spiced cider, visit the craft and antique shop, and meet the resident mules. The farm is open daily Thanksgiving through Christmas.
Hop aboard the Polar Express Train Ride Nov. 29-Dec. 30 at St. Louis Union Station for an adventure-filled trip with stories, songs and holiday cheer. Santa and his reindeer await at the "North Pole" with a keepsake present for every girl and boy.
The Kansas City Southern Holiday Express brings Santa to Kansas City's Union Station for the holidays. Tour the train Dec. 18-22 to see Rudy, the smiling tank car; a flatcar carrying Santa's sleigh, reindeer and a miniature village; a gingerbread boxcar; the elves' workshop; the reindeer stable; and the little red caboose deck out in holiday lights.
The month-long Christmas Traditions, Nov. 29-Dec. 24, in St. Charles highlights yuletide sights and sounds of yesteryear. Celebrate the holidays with more than 80 legendary holiday characters, outdoor concerts, a sugar plum dance party, a Santa parade, and shopping and dining throughout the historic downtown area. At the end of the day, a candlelight procession features the Cobblestone Wassailiers leading a sing-a-long of traditional Christmas songs beneath the glow of St. Charles' Christmas tree.
Weston celebrates the spirit of the season during its Annual Candlelight Homes Tour Dec. 1-2. Historic houses, churches and the Holladay Distillery are dressed up for the holidays. Watch for Father Christmas while you tour the history-filled downtown district and travel the luminary-lined streets by horse and carriage.
Experience an ice skating rink like no other – bathed in the glow of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. Enjoy the outdoor rink and special events (and hot chocolate!) at the Winterfest Ice Rink at Kiener Plaza Nov. 23-Jan. 26. In Forest Park, Steinberg Skating Rink, the largest outdoor ice skating rink in the Midwest, offers public skating every day – including holidays. The rink is open from Nov. 15-March 1.
In Kansas City, the Crown Center Ice Terrace offers outdoor ice skating sheltered by a billowing white tent and a view of the Mayor's Christmas Tree – one of the tallest in the country. Public skating is available every day, except Christmas, Nov. 1 through mid-March. At Worlds of Fun, ice skate on Snow Flake Lake while giant projected "snowflakes" swirl across the ice. Skating is offered during the park's WinterFest event Nov. 23-Dec. 31.
Other Memory Makers
Written by Liz Coleman